Year 12 students investigate Irn-Bru


Students are shown how to use one of the spectrophotometers in the lab

Year 12 students have taken part in the 25th Merseyside Young Analyst competition held in the Central Teaching Laboratories.

The famous Irn-Bru advertising slogan describes Scotland’s other national drink as ‘Made in Scotland from girders.’ But is it really? This was one of the investigations set for the teams attending the event.

Using the technique of spectrophotometry, the Young Analysts found an average of 4 mg per litre (or 4 parts per million) of iron, leading to the conclusion that one 300 kg girder would be sufficient for 75 million litres of Irn-Bru.

Organised by Professor Rick Cosstick and Dr Helen Aspinall from the Department of Chemistry together with colleagues from the Liverpool John Moores University, the competition attracted teams from 28 schools and colleges across the North West, including Ballakermeen High School from the Isle of Man, who travelled the furthest for the event.

Helen said: “The event is sponsored by the Royal Society of Chemistry together with local industries, and CTL technical staff made the whole event possible by setting up all the equipment in the lab and ensuring the experiments worked properly.”

The competition is the local heat of the Royal Society of Chemistry Schools Analytical Competition, and this year’s winners, The Queen’s School from Chester, will go on to represent the region at the National Final.


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